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Scenario: Power across the globe is out (for a long time), fuel is out, tractors, tillers, backholes, drills are all shutdown and rusty. Water is getting scarce, so you decide to find a underground well by means of a witching stick. You find one, but you know its around 100 to 150 feet deep. What would you do to get to the source? I know digging with shovels etc would do the trick, but whew!
 

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That’s an interesting scenario and posses quite a challenge. Since you’ve stated that water is becoming increasingly scarce, I would make the assumption that the effort to access water underground at those depths would result in providing relief for many people… perhaps a small community. That’s important because I think the effort would be more than one or two people (even with good skills) could achieve.

Without some type of mechanized equipment, the options would be slim. My approach would be to utilize a small to medium sized residential well drilling rig… drawing it into place with a team of horses and replacing the diesel power plant with steam or some mechanical drive system.

Or, It might be possible to build a horizontal spoked wheel like a animal-powered Roman Mill that rotates a weighted drilling shaft at the center. With a 400– 500 pound stone weight atop a steel 4” – 6” diameter boring drill shaft, it might be possible to drill down to water at that depth. In any event, time, patience, ingenuity and some mechanization would be necessary.

As with any excavation, the content of the ground strata would have considerable impact on the odds of success. Here in New England there’s so much rock that your chances of getting to that depth would be slim.
 

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That's an interesting scenario and posses quite a challenge. Since you've stated that water is becoming increasingly scarce, I would make the assumption that the effort to access water underground at those depths would result in providing relief for many people… perhaps a small community. That's important because I think the effort would be more than one or two people (even with good skills) could achieve.

Without some type of mechanized equipment, the options would be slim. My approach would be to utilize a small to medium sized residential well drilling rig… drawing it into place with a team of horses and replacing the diesel power plant with steam or some mechanical drive system.

Or, It might be possible to build a horizontal spoked wheel like a animal-powered Roman Mill that rotates a weighted drilling shaft at the center. With a 400- 500 pound stone weight atop a steel 4" - 6" diameter boring drill shaft, it might be possible to drill down to water at that depth. In any event, time, patience, ingenuity and some mechanization would be necessary.

As with any excavation, the content of the ground strata would have considerable impact on the odds of success. Here in New England there's so much rock that your chances of getting to that depth would be slim.
Well you're just full of useful stuff. Wanna be in my group? =)
 

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Leon – I suspect there’s a great deal of real estate between me and thee, but I do want to be on a creative and energized team when it comes time to solve some of the daunting challenges of a SHTF scenario. While I’m not anxious for a significant infrastructure collapse, (far from fearing it) I can’t help but view it as an opportunity to rise to the issues of the times by designing and building alternative machines to return stability and a new normalcy to people’s lives.

I have nearly forty years experience designing and building prototype machines to solve unique industrial challenges and would love to use that experience to keep the bleak wolf from people’s door in a serious SHTF situation. I don’t have all of the ideas, but if someone can draw it on paper and it doesn’t defy the laws of physics, I can dam well build it. Besides having a fairly up to date fabrication facility, I’ve taken the time to learn and tool-up for pre-industrialized era manufacturing technologies.

My personal challenge is that I’m sixty (it has taken a while to pull it all together) and in another decade my capabilities and knowledge will wane and begin to be lost. At that point, I’ll no longer be any good to people I might otherwise help… sucks. There are plenty of young-bloods out there that have years to burn and lots of energy, but are impotent because they don’t have the knowledge, experience, imagination and patience… the full palette. I’m hoping there’s time to teach and mentor before what I’ve assembled is auctioned off as a dying eclectic old man’s estate… tools, books and wisdom lost for another generation or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've heard of people using dynamite/blasting caps back in the 70's-80's, but don't know how effective that would be except ruining the well.
 

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I've heard of people using dynamite/blasting caps back in the 70's-80's, but don't know how effective that would be except ruining the well.
I like his idea of some form of rig drawn by horsepower or a human powered wheel connected to say a hardwood log hacked sharp at one end. Spinning that enough times, the log providing downward pressure, that would work in theory. Hey wait, stroke of genius....you know those old horse walkers? The ones with that wheel and an engine, the ones that can hold like 5 horses and walk them in a circle? We used to have one on my old farm. THOSE would be a great starting point, mine old one was made from a transmission off a dodge van and a few shafts. If you connected that output shaft to the drill....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I like that idea as well. I figure thats what they used to do to dig wells way back when? Leon, you just reminded me of one of my favorite movies with the horse walkers..... Conan. =)
 

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I like that idea as well. I figure thats what they used to do to dig wells way back when? Leon, you just reminded me of one of my favorite movies with the horse walkers..... Conan. =)
That's uncanny… Conan. That's exactly the picture I had in my head when I made the suggestion.
 

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Back in'68 my Father had me pound a well 30' down with a homemade sledge. We used 1 3/4" pipe with a well point tip. The sledge was 12" X 12" x 3' oak with a 3' 1 " pipe sticking out the end, 4 other pipes near the top and bottom for handles.

When I went back to school for the 7th grade that fall, the bullies quit picking on me as I was no longer a short skinny kid. I was now a short,very stocky IrishMan with a 'tude.
 

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Being in the drilling industry myself, I would look for a horizontal drilling rig like a DitchWitch, mount it vertically, and human power it. If you can find one, all of your drilling needs will be solved. And if your anywhere near any major city, there should be hundreds of them. You'll spend more time trying to dig a hole manually versus going out looking for a Horizontal Directional Drilling rig.
 

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I realize I'm dragging up an old post... but has anyone considered that there used to thousands of wells in use in just about every city in the US. As city water came in, these were sealed off, but not destroyed. It might be interesting to research and share a method for locating these old wells and a process for reopening and utilizing them. Hollywood always has a character "find" an old hand pump somewhere (which means he pulled it off the prop truck). And... there are still a few laying around as lawn ornaments. But... if we could figure out how to locate old wells and use them, it might be useful to design and build (or purchase) a hand pump that would work on these wells and add it to a vehicle or trailer based BOB. Thoughts?
 
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